Suspect in attack on comic Dave Chappelle pleads not guilty

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FILE PHOTO: 90th Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood

LOS ANGELES – A 23-year-old man accused of tackling comedian Dave Chappelle to the stage floor during a performance pleaded not guilty on Friday to four misdemeanor counts and was told to stay away from the celebrity.

During a brief hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, a judge ordered the suspect, Isaiah Lee, held on $30,000 bail pending further proceedings later this month, local media reported.

The judge ordered Lee to stay at least 100 yards away from Chappelle, 48, if he was released on bond, local media said.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, which filed the charges, could not immediately be reached for comment. A public defender representing Lee also could not be reached for comment.

Lee was charged with misdemeanor battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault and two other misdemeanors. The office of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon declined to charge him because the conduct did not meet the standards of a felony, a spokesman for Gascon said.

Under California law, a misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. In Los Angeles, the city attorney prosecutes misdemeanors while the district attorney is responsible for felony cases.

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Police say Chappelle was performing at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday when Lee rushed at the comedian, knocking him to the ground. Lee was subdued near the back of the stage as he sought to flee.

Chappelle returned to the stage after a short break and went on with the show, ad-libbing jokes about the incident. He did not appear to be injured.

The comedian’s representatives said on Wednesday that he was fully cooperating with the police investigation.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)